Author: Darrell

Honorably Discharged Vets Now Have Online Exchange Shopping Privileges

By: Chris Ward, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Some 18.5 million honorably discharged veterans now have a lifetime benefit enabling them to shop online at, marking the first expansion of military exchange privileges since 1990. “The Exchange is honored to open its virtual doors to millions of deserving veterans,” said Tom Shull, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s director and CEO, a Vietnam-era Army veteran. “There are many generations of service members who have not been properly recognized,” he added. “This new benefit acknowledges their service and welcomes them home. This is something veterans can enjoy the rest of their lives.” Purchases Improve Quality of Military Life Every purchase veterans make online will help to improve the quality of life for those who wear the uniform today, Shull noted, as exchange earnings support programs such as combat uniforms below cost, fitness centers, child development centers and youth programs on Army garrisons, Air Force outdoor recreation programs, school lunches for warfighters’ children overseas and more. “This is a virtuous cycle,” he said. “As a veteran myself, it is an honor to pay forward support to active-duty service members and their families.” Excitement for the new benefit has been building for months, AAFES officials said, thanks to social media shout-outs from Mark Wahlberg and Marcus Luttrell, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Richard Rawlings and other celebrities. As a result,...

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VA Scheduling Now Available Online

By: Alan Greilsamer and Treva Lutes You can now manage your primary care and certain specialty care VA appointments online at participating VA facilities. You will need a Premium My HealtheVet Account to use online scheduling. If you do not have a Premium account, please visit My HealtheVet or contact the My HealtheVet Coordinator at your nearest VA facility. U.S. Army Veteran G. Paul Moffett, who helped test online scheduling at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro, TN, says it’s about giving Veterans greater control over scheduling their care. “Rather than making a phone call and playing go fish, now I can [go online and] pick the date that best fits my schedule,” he says. “You can use it anytime, anywhere – on whatever Internet-access device you have. I’m excited about it. It’s great stuff.” Currently, online scheduling is available at more than 100 VA facilities and their associated Community Based Outpatient Clinics. VA plans to add more appointment types in the future and is working to make online scheduling available at nearly all VA facilities next year. Check to see if your VA facility offers online scheduling. Where can I find the online scheduling tool? If you are eligible to use online scheduling, you will see a “Schedule a VA Appointment” option when you log in to your My HealtheVet Premium Account. To make an appointment...

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VA Launches Program Aimed at Providing Veterans More Options in Claims Disagreements

On November 2, 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will launch the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program, or “RAMP,” with the goal of providing Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disagreement with VA’s decision on their benefit claims. RAMP will provide expanded opportunities for Veterans to enter the new, more efficient claims review process outlined in the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, which was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on Aug. 23. “At its core, VA’s mission is to provide Veterans with the highest quality of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “The new process under the RAMP initiative reflects major steps in not only VA’s effort of continuous improvement, but also in providing greater choice for Veterans and their families.” VA began its 18-month implementation of the new process immediately after the bill became law. By February 2019, all requests for review of VA decisions will be processed under the new, multi-lane process. VA’s legacy appeals process was slow and complex. The new law streamlines the process and includes safeguards ensuring claimants receive the earliest effective date possible for their claims. Participation in RAMP is voluntary; however, Veterans can expect to receive a review of VA’s initial decision on their claim faster in RAMP than in the legacy appeals process. The initiative allows participants to...

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Veterans Day Deals, Discounts and Freebies

  Veterans Day 2017 has compiled a list of Veterans Day discounts on restaurants, goods, services and events for 2017. Click below to search for discounts by category. Visit daily as the list is updated frequently! Popular Veterans Day Restaurant Discounts   Texas Roadhouse: Free Lunch on Veterans Day   Golden Corral: Military Appreciation Night   Applebee’s Offers Free Meal on Veterans Day See All Veterans Day Restaurant Offerings   Popular Veterans Day Travel & Recreation Discounts Killington Resort: Free Skiing on Veterans Day Colonial Williamsburg Free Admission Harley-Davidson Museum: Veterans Day Offer See All Veterans Day Travel & Recreation Discounts Popular Veterans Day Retailer Discounts Great Clips Offers Free Haircuts on Veterans Day Rack Room Shoes Veterans Day Discount Home Depot Offers Veterans Discounts See All Veterans Day Retailer Offerings Veterans Day Events Giving Back All of the discounts have been confirmed, either through press release or direct communication with the company. Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service, which can include a VA Universal Access Card, Military ID, DD-214 (Discharge Papers), Veterans Service Organization Card (VSO’s include groups like the VFW, DAV, AmVets, MOAA, FRA, and the American Legion), a state-issued ID that shows veteran status or in some cases businesses will accept a picture of the veteran in uniform. Note: Not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs — be sure contact your...

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Statement from Secretary of Veterans Affairs on Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions

On November 1, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin announced that he is considering possible new presumptive conditions that may qualify for disability compensation related to Agent Orange exposure. “After thoroughly reviewing the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)’s latest report regarding Veterans and Agent Orange, and associated data and recommendations from the NAM Task Force, I have made a decision to further explore new presumptive conditions for service connection that may ultimately qualify for disability compensation,” Secretary Shulkin said.   “I appreciate NAM’s work and the commitment and expertise of VA’s NAM Task Force, and look forward to working with the Administration on the next steps in the process.” The Department of Veterans Affairs will now begin work with the Administration to concurrently conduct a legal and regulatory review of these potential presumptive conditions for awarding disability compensation to eligible...

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